With the House of Commons set to begin its final three-day sprint before powering down for the summer, the most closely-watched showdown of the day isn’t expected to take place during the regularly-scheduled cross-aisle back-and-forth of question period, but immediately after it wraps up, at which point the spotlight will move to the brass bar at the front of the Chamber, where embattled Public Health Agency of Canada President Iain Stewart has been ordered to present himself, or face the consequences of defying the will of parliament. (3 PM)
As noted in the iPolitics weekly lookahead What We’re Watching, “not only is Stewart the first private citizen in more than a century to be formally summoned to appear before the bar of the House of Commons to face ‘admonishment’ by the Speaker for failing to comply with a previous House order,” but under the terms of the motion adopted last week, he’s also supposed to deliver the unredacted documents at the heart of the current standoff, which he has repeatedly said would put him in breach of the privacy and security laws under which he serves.
“As of Sunday afternoon, there was no official word on whether Stewart intends to show up at the appointed hour — nor, if he does, if he’ll have the full trove of documents with him to be handed over,” iPolitics reported over the weekend.
Nor, for that matter, is it clear what, if any, further sanctions he may face if he doesn’t, although it includes the possibility, albeit remote, that he could wind up in the custody of Sergeant-at-Arms Pat McDonell, who could be dispatched to bring him in — and, potentially, detain him until he’s prepared to comply with the original production order.
Given all those unanswered questions, no matter what happens this afternoon, it’s hard to see how it won’t at least temporarily disrupt the government’s bid to begin the final phase of its push to get its four most high-priority bills through the Commons before Wednesday afternoon, starting with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s omnibus budget implementation plan, which is currently just one hour away from wrapping up report stage debate.
As per the projected order of business, the Liberals are also planning to circle back to Justice Minister David Lametti’s proposal to restrict conversion therapy, which is already at third reading and under notice of time allocation, after which they’ll resume their efforts to set a deadline for a final vote on the proposed overhaul of the broadcasting regime and new net-zero emissions reporting requirements.
Also on the precinct radar this morning: A much-anticipated status update on the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border, courtesy of Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who will announce the next steps towards the eventual reopening, which, as per the latest preview from CBC News, will roll back some travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for “fully vaccinated Canadians.” (10 AM)
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains in quarantine after hitting the international summit circuit last week, but will mark National Indigenous Persons Day by firing up his webcam to host back-to-back closed-door sessions with the Liberal Indigenous Caucus and newly appointed Indigenous Languages Commissioner Ronald Ignace.
He’ll also join retiring Halifax-area MP Geoff Regan for a virtual visit with sixth grade students at a Bedford elementary school.
Meanwhile, New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh also plans to “recognize the contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities” during his usual Monday morning Zoom availability.
According to the advisory, he’ll also highlight his party’s continuing concerns over a plan by “Justin Trudeau’s Liberals” to “[cut] the Canada Recovery Benefit by $800 a month for families who depend on it to make ends meet” — and, of course, the New Democrats’ ongoing efforts to “make the government reverse this decision.” (10:30 AM)
Finally, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole makes another round on the digital fundraising hustings with two virtual meet-and-greet sessions. (9 AM/5 PM)
IN THE CHAMBER
Before MPs turn their attention to the budget bill, Conservative MP Philip Lawrence will wrap up third reading debate of his backbench pitch to expand the current carbon tax exemption for “qualifying farm fuel,” which is now on track to go to a final vote on Wednesday. (11 AM)
OUTSIDE THE PRECINCT
Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna joins the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau, Que. — Jim Watson and Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, respectively — as well as local Liberal MP Greg Fergus, for what the advisory is billing as an “important infrastructure event” on the site of the former Hintonburg pumping station on Lemieux Island. (11 AM)
Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau visits tissue-manufacturing giant Kruger Product’s plant in Sherbrooke, Que., to share the details of new federal funding that, as per the notice, aims to “enhance Canada’s global leadership position in artificial intelligence.” (10 AM)
Back in Ontario, Small Business Minister Mary Ng makes an in-person appearance at Butter Baker’s headquarters in Markham to unveil a fresh tranche of funding for small businesses across Canada. (11 AM)
Finally, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan teams up with her parliamentary secretary, Terry Beech, for a virtual announcement regarding the Coast Guard’s Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Project, which, according to the notice, “provides communities with funding to purchase boats and equipment to build up their on-water search-and-rescue capacity.” (9 AM)
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